A little about Boquete Town (well, alot about Boquete 😊)
Boquete has been described as a no frills quaint little town located in a valley, surrounded by emerald green hills, mountains, and with the river, Rio Caldera flowing alongside the town. Boquete is known as the Valley of the Eternal Rainbow, and often you can view several rainbows at the same time, over the valley.
Boquete’s land covers about 350 square miles. It is located 340 miles from Panama City. By land it takes 5-7 hours to drive from Panama City to Boquete. By air it’s about an hour flight to the City of David which is a 35 -40 minute drive to Boquete. The weather in Boquete varies on average between 67 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit . It’s a tropical zone so it does tend to rain from May to October , but the sun shines brightly from November to April. Even during the rainy season it seems to average about 5-6 hours of sunshine with rain mostly in the afternoons. We don’t want to live in really hot, humid climate so the weather is really appealing to us. The population as of 2008, is about 20,000 people , all very welcoming, whose roots go all the way back to the native Indians, Spaniards, Europeans, and North Americans. About 14 percent of the population are Ex-pats.
In Spanish, the word Boquete means ‘gap or opening’. It was through this gap that curious gold seekers trekked, looking for a cheaper and quicker way to the Pacific. On April 11, 1911 Boquete Panama was founded by settlers from all over Panama and from different countries, but primarily the settlers were Swiss, Yugoslavian, Swedish , German , and North American. The immigrants gave shape to the incredible melting pot of Boquete that you see today. By the early 20th century, several villages had been populated: Lino, Quiel, Bajo Mono, Los Naranjos, and Bajo Boquete, which now is the districts’ town center.. The head of the district was initially Lino, but it was moved soon after to Bajo Boquete. For many years, the district had three “corregimientos” (townships): Bajo Boquete, Caldera and Palmira. Just recently in 1998, the “corregimientos” of Alto Boquete, Jaramillo, and Los Naranjos were created.
Boquete is the end of the road, so to speak as you can’t drive through it to get to Bocas Del Toro. Bocas Del Toro is located on the Caribbean side of Panama. This area has many beautiful islands to visit and is very picturesque . If you were very energetic, you could trek to Bocas, walking through eight or more rivers and up and down many mountains as the indigenous Gnobe people do. I think this would be a five or six day hike! By public bus the drive takes about three hours , this is how we went when we visited in October last year(2011). But who knows, maybe someday when we’re feeling energetic, ( And CRAZY!), we’ll try the hike!
We enjoy hiking, exploring nature,and birding, all of this and more we can find in Boquete. Bird watching is a very big attraction in Boquete. You can see the elusive Quetzal, which are beautiful birds that were considered sacred by the Mayas. There have been over 43 different species of Quetzals reported and documented in the mountains surrounding Boquete. The elevation of Boquete is 3,200 feet. There are lots of opportunities to explore the surrounding mountains around the town that are up to nearly 11,000 feet. This is the rim of the extinct Volcano Baru, one of the only places in the world that both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans can be seen. This landmark, the nearby Volcán Barú, is a dormant volcano and, at 3,475 meters, the tallest point of land in Panama. Visitors and residents as well enjoy the challenge of hiking up and over the volcano, and along the Sendero de Los Quetzales, which runs from Boquete up to Cerro Punta and Volcan, these are towns located on the other side of the volcano.
There is some tourism but the main industry is agriculture, especially the growing of coffee beans. Boquete is well known for its coffee, judged to be among the finest in the world.The coffee of Boquete ranks on the top of the global market and is often offered in exclusive cafes in Europe. Recently, a world record $ 131.00 per pound was obtained at auction for Geisha coffee grown in Boquete. Boquete’s unique micro-climate provides ideal conditions for growing coffee and there are a number of coffee estates growing some of the world’s finest gourmet coffee beans. A unique web of cold air currents through the mountains cause a flourishing of microclimates – subtly varied blends of temperature, moisture and sunlight – that suit the finicky coffee plants. The area’s oldest coffee mill dates to 1917. But don’t expect to find a Starbucks ! Nope, just maybe a simple Panamanian cafe or a fresh bag of coffee to brew at home.
There is an indigenous ethnic group called Gnobe Bugles that live in the mountains surrounding Boquete. They are also known as Guaymies and often work for the coffee plantations and farms in the region. They are also very skilled artisans famous for their colorful bead necklaces and the traditional brightly colored dresses that the women wear.
This is a very Beautiful, safe , peaceful place. Full of amazing nature and beautiful people. From the time that we have spent there, and the people we have spent time with who live there, and all the research we have done, we are very excited to create a life for ourselves in Boquete, Panama. There is no place in the world that is perfect and we will surely learn in time things about Boquete that are less than perfect . But perfect is not why we’re going to a new place. We’re simply ready to experience something different and learn about a new culture. Meeting new people and redefining what’s important to us as individuals and as a couple. Creating opportunities to learn new things about who we are and what we’re capable of achieving !
I am including some pictures of Boquete and the indigenous people as well as the famous Quetzal bird.